Saturday, November 26, 2016

John Coy, author of GAP LIFE, on writing the entire novel before trying to fix everything

We're thrilled to have John Coy with us to share more about his latest novel GAP LIFE.

John, what was your inspiration for writing GAP LIFE?

When I was in high school, a friend’s parents announced they would pay for college but only if he studied to become a doctor, which wasn’t what he wanted to do. That stayed with me as I learned that more parents were telling their children what they should study as college has become so expensive. I knew there was a story in that.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The scenes of Dad’s anger were hard to write. That’s painful stuff.

I wrote Cray and Rayne’s second kiss many times. I wanted to convey the excitement and urgency he feels followed quickly by the awkwardness and embarrassment. I love these two characters and all that they go through.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Readers are always best at determining this and I like being surprised by their choices.

How long did you work on GAP LIFE?

Seven years.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?


How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
This is my third YA novel. CRACKBACK and BOX OUT are the previous ones and I’m also the author of the middle-grade 4 for 4 series. I’ve been fortunate that all the novels I’ve written have been published. That’s not the case with picture books where I’ve had eight books published but over one hundred rejections.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

Yes, on CRACKBACK I realized I needed to write the entire novel before trying to fix everything. Write it all the way through and then go back and make it better.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

You can do it. Keep going. I support what you’re working on.

What are you working on now?

A middle-grade novel set in 1970 and a picture book that covers twelve thousand years.


Gap Life
by John Coy
Feiwel & Friends
Released 11/22/2016

Cray got into the same college his father attended and is expected to go. And to go pre-med. And to get started right away. His parents are paying the tuition. It should be an easy decision.

But it's not.

All Cray knows is that what's expected of him doesn't feel right. The pressure to make a decision—from his family, his friends—is huge. Until he meets Rayne, a girl who is taking a gap year, and who helps him find his first real job, at a home of four adults with developmental disabilities. What he learns about himself and others will turn out to be more than any university could teach him—and twice as difficult.

Purchase Gap Life at Amazon
Purchase Gap Life at IndieBound
View Gap Life on Goodreads


John Coy is an award-winning author, who worked as a dishwasher, mattress maker, group home worker, and tour guide before taking up writing. He's active in sports and is a member of the NBA Reading All-Star Team as part of the Read to Achieve program. John has traveled to all fifty states as well as to many countries internationally.

His work includes Night Driving, a Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Award winner and a Horn Book Fanfare title, Strong to the Hoop, an American Library Association Notable Book, Two Old Potatoes and Me, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, a Nickelodeon Jr.'s Best Books of the Year, and a featured book on Reading Rainbow, and Vroomaloom Zoom, a book of excellence on the Children's Literature Choice List. His newest picture book Around the World is about international basketball, and his YA novels include Crackback set in the high stakes world of high school football and Box Out about boys' basketball, girls' basketball, and taking a stand.


Have you had a chance to read GAP LIFE yet? Do you write the entire novel before trying to fix it? Do you have perseverance? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin

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